Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth - Ptolemy
Lovely green-coloured Comet Lulin is still available to view, and the area it is occupying in the sky is so easy to find. Now is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness this fabulous diva of a comet, because it won't return to our neck of the woods for over a thousand years. The weather in the UK has, of course, been inclement and clear nights have been few and far between, so hopefully we'll still have a few more chances to view this spectacular comet.
All you have to do is locate Castor and Pollux, the twins of Gemini, then focus to the left — Comet Lulin is gliding through Cancer the Crab now. On 5 March it is approaching delta Cancri; if you know Cancer, delta is slap bang in the centre. On 6 March Comet Lulin will have passed delta Cancri and will be directly below Praesepe (M44) also known as the Beehive Cluster. Comet Lulin is covering 5° of sky each day!
On 11 March it will glide into Gemini, and on 18 March it will team up with delta Geminorum. Towards the end of March Comet Lulin will appear to slow down, and you will need to be viewing earlier in the evening to catch a glimpse; it will still be hosted by Gemini. Please do let me know if you manage to see Comet Lulin. H2G2 Researchers who have already viewed Comet Lulin are: Moonhogg, Phil, Metal Chicken and myself. I managed to spot it on 25 February during a gap in the clouds, and again on 28 Feb; it's quite astonishing how much distance it had covered!
Astronomers are hopeful they will also have opportunities to view Comet Lulin in April and May, but by then we won't have the advantage of dark sky, and the comet will most probably be lost in the glare of the setting Sun.
March Diary Dates
- 05: Comet Lulin rendezvous with delta Cancri
- 06: Comet Lulin in M44
- 06: Venus 0.6° south of Neptune
- 08: Mars 0.8° south of Neptune
- 11: Saturn 6° north of Moon
- 11: Full Moon (the Worm, the Crust, the Windy and the Lenten Moon)
- 14: Albert Einstein born in 1879, in Ulm, Württemberg, Germany.
- 17: Antares 0.2° south of Moon (occultation from Southern Africa)
- 18: Comet Lulin rendezvous with delta Geminorum
- 20: Spring equinox
- 22: Jupiter 1.5° south of Moon
- 23: Neptune 2° south of Moon
- 24: Mars 4° south of Moon
- 26: New Moon
- 31: Sir Isaac Newton died in 1727, in London.
Chat about your celestial observances at the H2G2 Astronomy Society. Comment on anything in this edition of Babe Among the Stars by starting a new conversation below.